State Health Department Issues New E. coli Alert - Food Worker with E. coli Symptoms Employed at Schaghticoke Fair
Albany, September 9 – The New York State Health Department today warned people who attended the recent Schaghticoke Fair in Rensselaer County and purchased food or drinks from two specific vendors they may have been exposed to E. coli 0157:H7.
The vendors, F&W Caterers and O'Sullivan Enterprises Taco Stand, who previously operated concessions at the Washington County Fair in Greenwich, brought self–contained tanks of water from the Washington County Fair to the Schaghticoke Fair. It is not believed that the water came from a well which was contaminated with E. coli bacteria. However, an investigation is continuing. In addition, a food service worker employed by one of the two vendors developed symptoms of E. coli infection, although illness has not been confirmed. The employee worked at both fairs.
One of the vendors used three gallons of water from the Washington County Fair to prepare lemonade, coffee and "smoothies" at the Schaghticoke Fair. These items would have most likely been consumed on September 1, 1999. Another vendor used 30 gallons of the water for hand washing and general cleaning purposes. Foods items served by this vendor included quesadillas, tacos, burritos, fajitas and taco salad.
State Health Department staff, with the assistance of New York State Police, now have contacted all but four of the food vendors who were present at the Washington County Fair to gather information about what water they used, foods that they prepared and served and their health status since the Washington County Fair concluded on August 29. Only the vendor discussed previously has reported any symptoms. State Police are working with authorities in Florida and Texas to interview the other four vendors.
Persons who attended the Schaghticoke Fair, especially on September 1, 1999, and have experienced symptoms of E. coli infection should consult with their health care provider for diagnosis. Incubation time varies from one to nine days. Because the disease can be serious or fatal, especially for young children and the elderly, prompt diagnosis is vital. People are reminded to check with their health care provider if they or their children experience the following symptoms:
- Diarrhea, especially bloody diarrhea (although bloody diarrhea is a common symptom of E. coli infection, it is not always present);
- Abdominal pain or cramping;
- Fever, along with the other symptoms.
Symptoms typically occur about three days after exposure, with a range of one to nine days.
No cases of E. coli have been reported to date from anyone who attended the Schaghticoke Fair.